NIA suggests diversified crop production as water crisis looms

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 29) — Farmers should try diversified crop production to address a potential water crisis this dry season, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said Wednesday.

NIA acting administrator Eddie Guillen recommended that farmers who cannot access enough water supply can focus on planting high-value crops like corn or monggo beans, which do not need as much water.

"Sa totoo lang mas malaki pa ang kinikita ng farmers natin dito sa pagtatanim ng high-value crops," Guillen told CNN Philippines' The Final Word,

[Translation: Farmers actually earn more by planting high-value crops.]

Guillen cited Illocos' diversified planting during the dry season, and said the program has been successful in helping farmers.

NIA also pushed for a water management office that would oversee the creation of higher dams nationwide.

"Tandaan po natin, pag nagtayo ka po kasi ng high dams hindi lang po irrigation ang inaaddress niyo diyan but flood control, power. Merong aquaculture, livelihood, tourism - napakaraming pwedeng gawin," Guillen said.

[Translation: We must remember, if we build high dams, we don't only address irrigation but also flood control, power. There's aquaculture, livelihood, and tourism - there's a lot we can do.]

Guillen also assured the public that NIA has enough funds for programs that will help farmers stave off a water crisis.